WellTax Blog

London calling: hints and suggestions

Youth unemployment is a “plague” affecting Europe for about ten years and it goes hand in hand with the overall unemployment. The worst nations are Greece and Spain, which also have the worst record for youth unemployment: respectively 51.4% and 45% (above 30% are also Italy and Croatia). However, the unemployment rate is not consistent throughout the Eurozone. Antipodes are Germany, Malta, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.

The UK attracts young people from nations where unemployment is chronic, as Britain figures at the top three countries with the lowest unemployment rate. Furthermore, the UK offers higher wages than other countries in EU and numerous career development and opportunities prospects for a more comfortable life.

Having said that, our goal is to simplify your move to the UK, offering useful and practical advice that will give you a snapshot of how to organise yourself while arriving in Great Britain.

  • Language barrier: When moving into the UK, It is necessary to improve your English and become familiar with few language courses (IELTS and TOEFL for instance). The best way to get prepared to the move is attending an English certified course or self-studying (BBC website, English movies etc). This process will allow you to be able to understand and be understood by the others (these are just guidelines as everyone may have a different approach).
  • Documents: If you are an EU citizen, you have the right to live and work in the UK. If it is not the case, you will need a visa, the UK government site provides an online form with information about the type of visa you need (www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y). Typically, most non-EU individuals need a visa that allows living and possibly work in the UK for a certain period of time. While choosing the specific visa you need, for further support please visit visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. To approve the visa will take few months.
  • Accommodation: it would be appropriate to seek an accommodation before you leave your home country, there are great websites where you can look for houses or apartments (Gumtree, Rightmove, Zoopla or RoomMatesUK) and even a room to amortise the expenses (Spareroom). Britons spend on average 40% of their income on rent, compared to a European average of 25%. London is the most expensive city in the UK and to save is recommended to consider also the suburbs (Zone 4 or 5) or even other neighbouring cities, well connected by public transport (National Rail Services).
  • Housing costs: before renting it is suggested to consider about additional charges related to it. The costs vary across the regions/boroughs and type of property. To put it simply: the average amount for your utility bills will be is around £ 200 per month to which is added the council tax of £100 per month on average (calculated upon 1-2 Bedroom flat/house). If you want to watch TV you have to register to the TV License which requires the annual payment of £ 145.50. You can always try to save money on energy suppliers as there are strong competitors and a privatised sector. Consider using websites such as uswitch.com and gocompare.com, through which you can compare all the various rates not only energy but also broadband, phone contracts, broadcast etc.
  • Transportation: If you planning to move to London, you won’t need any the car and we recommend to use public transports, which are extremely efficient and well connected. The Oyster Card (or the Contactless Bank Debit/Credit Card) is essential to be able to move and save on your trips around the city. The Oyster works as a contactless prepaid card, on which you can charge money for single trips or monthly/weekly subscriptions. Between the huge amount of choices, we suggest the seasonal tickets for public transport. This is a one-off fee that could save a huge amount of money from your pocket. In addition, there is Commuterclub.co.uk website that allows accessing the big discounts offered by Annual Travelcards while keeping all the flexibility of monthlies. We do not recommend black cabs of private taxis as are expensive and slow (due to traffic issues), however, we would use Uber for short trips or nights out. For long journeys, such as travel between two cities, we suggest to use buses or trains, this choice will depend on rates and specific timeframes.
  • Bank account: You will also need to open a bank account. Generally, it is a free operation and allows you to have a debit card, essential in the UK. For this procedure, you need only two documents, one for the identity and one for the home address (sometimes NIN is required).

Other advice:

  • National Insurance Number (NIN). This document/card is required if you are planning to work in the UK. It is needed for tax purposes. To apply, contact Jobcentre Plus to the number 0345 600 0643.
  • Medical care and emergency hospital visits are free for all visitors. If you are a resident, before choosing your doctor (GP: General Practice), ask for information from people already living in your area or seek out for internet reviews.
  • You can buy quality food at a low price in most British supermarkets (Waitrose offers the best quality products but it is the most expensive).  We recommend you to consider products with the red or yellow label, that are half-priced and displayed at the end of the day because they are going to expire.
  • In the case, you are a non-EU citizen and you want to work in the UK, you will need a work permit and a visa. You will also pay taxes on British income.
  • If you staying in the UK for over 5 years, you can apply for citizenship or permanent residence.
  • If you need to translate a certificate or an official document, it is recommended that you refer to a certified translation agency.


Silvano Ghigliani



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